Mental Health and Housing
In February 2014, the Government published ‘Closing the Gap: Priorities for essential change in mental health’. This document outlined the Government’s commitment to build on existing good practice to fill gaps in current mental health and housing support.
Whilst Association of Mental Health Providers supports the clear overarching intention of the report that “More people with mental health problems will live in homes that support recovery” we disputed the statement “there are currently no clear defined models for what such accommodation should look like”.
The Department of Health engaged the Association and The Royal College of Psychiatrist’s Faculty of Rehabilitation and Social Psychiatry to carry out two phases of work in relation to this. Phase 1 involved sampling 15 housing support models, writing a literature review on the evidence in this area and the set up of a national housing forum.
The Mental Health and Housing report from Phase 1 was completed using a combination of visits and semi-structured interviews, mapping 15 different models of housing and looking at a range of elements including:
- Building design and structure
- Design and variety of tenancies
- Definition of the existing models
- Current barriers and how blockages might be overcome
- Service user involvement
- Social inclusion
- Safety planning
- Employment opportunities
- Examples of collaboration to support template building
- VCS initiative and leadership to support template building
Phase 2 of the project included a number of regional consultations and involvement events as well as service user involvement meetings. The first of these was held in Bristol and the second inLiverpool. The regional events were designed to provide a more informal consultation with local organisations where we could explore the added value of models in the voluntary and community sector. The service user meetings consisted of a panel of experts with direct experience of housing support were specifically commissioned for a dual role of commenting on the mapping report and providing input on useful and cost effective ideas that have the potential for positive recovery outcomes.